When I was pregnant with my daughter, I yearned for a place I where I could have time to myself. When I couldn’t find such a place, I decided to create my own—Egen tid (Your Own Time), a yoga and health center offering expectant mothers a space where they could prepare for the birth of their baby and care for both body and mind through yoga, Pilates, and mindfulness exercises. I felt I was doing something that contributed to my own and other people’s happiness. I’d found something, an energy, a feeling I’d longed for—a desire to change something, not just me, but also society. For the first time in my life, I felt I was doing something truly important.
I’m not saying every step was easy, but I gained tools along the way that helped me through. I’d like to share a few with you.
- Find out what’s true for you.
When I first heard the words “Only you can know what’s true for you,” I had no idea how to find that truth. Then an Access Consciousness® facilitator gave me a great tool. “Start listening to your own inner knowing and to your body,” she said. “You and your body communicate energetically.” She told me that for very choice I was about to make, I could ask myself whether I perceived a lightness or heaviness. Since then, when I am about to make a choice, I ask myself a question that brings up awareness—a sensation of lightness or heaviness. Here’s an example. If you’re thinking about starting a business, ask yourself, “What will my life look like in five years if I choose this?” If you perceive heaviness, that choice probably isn’t the best option for you. If you feel as though you “light up,” and perceive a sensation of ease and peace, go for it. You can also picture yourself in that business environment and see what energy shows up—light or heavy.
- Create from you (not from someone else´s idea).
Many of us learn early in life to not listen to ourselves and to what we intuitively know is true and works for us. Society and parents place expectations on us in spoken and unspoken ways, and we pick up on all of them, consciously or not. To different degrees, this limits us and often reduces our ability to live life to the fullest and enjoy the unique being each of us truly is! What would happen if you started asking yourself what you would like to create that might never have existed before? Or that might exist but you could improve on? Find a quiet room, sit down, close your eyes, and think about what would be fun for you. And dare to choose it.
- Dare to be different.
When I got the idea to start Egen tid, most of family and friends objected. They raised a lot of concerns when I stopped pursuing my career and not only started my own business, but a business model that had not existed before. They tried to convince me to not do it. “You don’t have the experience,” they said, and “It will cost too much money, and you won’t earn enough from it to get by,” and “Why can´t you just do something normal just like everyone else?” When their words got to me and I started to doubt myself, I would ask myself if what they said was their truth or mine. I dared to follow my dream and do something different, and they soon fell quiet as my new business idea got a lot of attention and publicity, and my clientele grew fast.
- Stop judging you and step out of your comfort zone!
Most of us keep creating our lives more or less within our comfort zone. Repeating slightly different versions of past choices feels familiar and makes us able to predict the outcome. Even though this often means that we recreate undesirable and destructive situations, we imagine that stepping out of our comfort zone to try something new must be worse. What could you choose if you knew that were a lie? If you find yourself wanting to switch career paths—to leave that perfect job for a startup or one that pays less but will make you happier—instead of judging yourself for being foolish, you might congratulate yourself for daring to choose something different, something you feel is right.
- Choose joy.
What if it’s okay to choose to work with something that makes you light and fills you with energy, happiness, and joy? How much more fun would it be to wake up on Monday mornings if you actually worked with something you love? Some might think it sounds incredibly self-centered to seek to create what makes you happy—egotistical even. What if that’s lie? Actually, a number of surveys show that happy people are more social, flexible, creative, and capable of dealing with complex and difficult situations. Happy people are also more loving, helpful, and forgiving. That doesn’t sound very self-centered, does it?
- See possibilities instead of problems.
Many creative people with brilliant ideas tend to give up easily if things don’t go “their way” straight off. Be persistent and hang in there. When problems show up, keep a positive mind and look for solutions. Know that your point of view creates what’s possible for you as long as you trust yourself and keep a positive mindset. And how do I keep a positive mindset, you might ask? Well, first of all, separate your feelings and beliefs from those of others, and then chose how to deal with them. Remember that you’re aware of other people’s ideas of right and wrong. You can pick it up, feel it. You’re also aware of other’s sadness and heaviness. When you feel as though there’s no way out and everything is wrong, ask yourself if what you’re experiencing is yours. Or are you just aware, sensing someone els e’s feelings? Do you have to make that belief or feeling yours, or do you have choice? Know that you always have choice. When hopelessness, judgment, sadness, or anger hits you, know that you don’t have to choose it. Instead, you can choose the positive. When you wake up, see the sunlight streaming through the window, not the wallpaper that needs fixing. When the familiar voice in your head says there’s something wrong with you or that you’re not good enough, just say to yourself, Stop! Then tell yourself, I’m brilliant, just the way I am.
I apply these tools not only to my business, but to every choice I make. Not only has my life changed dramatically, but that single studio I began ten years ago has since expanded into a flourishing business in numerous health centers, fitness locations, and online. And I still find as much joy in what I do as I did ten years ago—all because I discovered my truth and honored it, and so can you.
Lisa Henriksson is a global businesswoman, author of the book I Was Supposed to Be Happy, model, mother of two, Access Consciousness® facilitator, and CEO and founder of several companies. Learn more at lisahenriksson.com and egentid.se. Follow @lisahhappy.